WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two experts from MaineHealth are participating in Congressional presentations this week. MaineHealth Chief Pharmacy Officer Brian Marden, Pharm.D., is speaking about the impact of recent drug shortages on MaineHealth’s efforts to provide safe, patient-centered care. Abby Fleisch, M.D., M.P.H., an attending physician at Maine Medical Center (MMC) in pediatric endocrinology and diabetes and faculty scientist at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, is explaining the need for more research on the health effects of environmental chemicals like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are commonly found in household items like carpets and furniture.
Dr. Marden will be part of a panel presentation at the Capitol Visitors Center at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5. He will share MaineHealth’s experiences creating action plans and alternative treatment approaches to ensure patients receive the highest quality care because medication supply across the United States continues to be highly unreliable. U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) also will give opening remarks promoting the Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages Act, a bipartisan bill she authored with Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN).
“Drug shortages, unfortunately, remain a significant barrier in delivering optimal and safe patient care,” Dr. Marden said. “It is critically important to share these challenges and continuously educate so that we can advance national strategies that have a true impact on remedying drug shortages and lead to a more predictable and sustainable drug supply in this country.”
“I often hear from hospitals, physicians, and patients who find themselves caught in the middle of a drug shortage, with very little certainty of when the problem might be resolved,” said Senator Collins. “The bipartisan MEDS Act I introduced would help increase the supplies of vital drugs needed to treat or prevent a wide variety of diseases, illnesses, and conditions. I appreciate Brian taking the time to participate in today’s briefing to share his expertise on this important issue.”
Dr. Fleisch will be speaking about her research on PFAS the next day, Wednesday, Nov. 6 at noon at the Cannon House Office Building. She was invited by the Friends of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Endocrine Society and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Early research by Dr. Fleisch and others suggests that exposure to PFAS may be linked to obesity and low bone density, a precursor to osteoporosis.
“Research on chemicals like PFAS is important to our nation’s public health,” Fleisch said. “Our research shows that PFAS may play a role in obesity, but more careful studies need to examine factors like exposure timing.”
Fleisch recently received a $2.2 million grant for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to study the impact of PFAS as well as phthalates on bone health and obesity rates of teenagers.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit integrated health system consisting of eight local hospital systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and more than 1,500 employed and independent physicians working together through an Accountable Care Organization. With close to 19,000 employees, MaineHealth is the largest health system in northern New England and provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire.
About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center (MMC), recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News and World Report for 2018-2019, is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1868, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 8,700 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is part of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. For more information, visit www.mmc.org.